Malta Gaming – an Industry Leader

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The small Mediterranean island nation with the business-friendly government has aimed their invitation to different industries for years. As their traditional role as a fishing nation and shipping hub is coming to a close, they are now known for being the best place to go to start anything in the Venn diagram between IT and entertainment.


An already established and successful iGaming sector has given Malta an influx of tech talent, and are now trying out new combinations of casino business, new related technology start-ups and other exciting ventures. The skills are there, and the next big thing always seems to be just around the corner.


Expanding Online Casinos

For now, Malta’s main entry in digital entertainment is online casinos. Casino operators based on Malta are behind a fair amount of the new innovations in this area. And they keep attracting new customers with casino offers and promotions found in every nook and cranny of social media, blogs or YouTube.

A quick look at what’s on offer for casino bonuses show that competition is fierce, but traditional promotions like these are now expanding into other forms. This year saw the first crowning of Miss Fashion TV Gaming World, which was held during Maltas Fashion Week event. Fashion TV is an already established brand, but new to online gaming.

So, while competing for giving out the best casino bonuses still is a valid business strategy, it’s becoming clear that as the industry tries to attract outside customers, more disruptive tactics are employed.

As for credibility, the winner of Fashion TV’s new Miss Gaming World contest was a finalist for Miss Universe in Ukraine, Alina Katlobai.

Expanding the scope of betting companies by making the digital sportsbook into a template for any casino to use, was a great move for grabbing attention a few years back. But the betting side of casinos still isn’t done with its expansion.

Fantasy leagues are on the rise all over remote gaming sectors, thanks to the amazing success this has had in the USA. Although they mostly grew because of gambling prohibitions, fantasy leagues have now become the main way a lot of Americans gamble.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, in a fantasy league the player comes up with their own team based on real players. During the real league, points made by real players are accumulated by their fantasy counterparts, and most valuable fantasy teams thus emerge.

Even if it’s already become quite popular, it’s still a side of betting that is growing a lot in the European, and therefore Maltese, market. A lot of the Maltese remote gaming companies are adding fantasy football leagues to their roster, and we’ll be seeing a lot more of these over the next few years.


More Gaming

Malta has tried their hand at creating a more general gaming friendly atmosphere to go along with their casinos. But it suffers from a lack of many of the factors that makes countries like the UK, Germany, France, Poland and Sweden good places to establish esports organisations.

Mainly, good internet services and easy transportation for IRL (in real life) events. The importance of a good crowd to drive virtual spectators to an event cannot be understated, even though there’s usually many times more of the latter than the former.

But there are more ways to become an important destination for esports. With a lot of the casino game development talent already on the island, inviting big video games companies to establish a presence in Malta should be an easy sell.

Having mentioned some of the misgivings when considering Malta a new esports destination, it’s important to mention all the right steps the country already has taken. Malta is definitely setting itself up for the future by establishing a new generation of local talent through educational programmes.

And these plans have made esports giant ESL see the potential. It might be a while yet, but local participation and organisation is on route, and internet services are bound to become much better within the ten-year timeframe!


Blockchain Island

Malta’s tax laws has made the island a target for Bitcoin millionaires who want to exchange their digital wealth into more traditional currencies. There might have been some exploitation of Malta’s lack of regulation at some point in this development, too, but overall the exchanges have been just an effort to pay less taxes than other EU countries.

But with all these transactions happening, Malta is aiming to become so much more than just a place to withdraw for cheap.

Financial technology has great synergy with countless casinos already operating there. Making transactions – and not just with cryptocurrencies – faster and more secure is a great way to make the globally active industry more efficient.

Going beyond even the massive cryptochain and transaction industry, Malta’s government is looking to make blockchain technology a larger part of their infrastructure. Thus far, there’s not many indicators of what exactly they’ll be using it for, but the interest and budgeting is there.

The aim to become a centre for blockchain technology could be a way to avoid being too locked down to only cryptocurrency trading. And there’s already a Crypto Valley, in Switzerland.

But the lack of specificity regarding what exactly blockchain technology will be used for in aiding Maltese infrastructure, like transportation, isn’t the only criticism that the blockchain island faces.

In 2019, several high profile experts have complained about Malta’s requirements of companies that wish to take part in the blockchain revolution. Having to establish a physical presence on the island is among the first issues that are brought up, by among others Steve Tandon in this article.

The problem of physicality for these companies mostly boils down to a lack of space and a scary property market, from a practical standpoint. But as anyone with knowledge of the Maltese property market knows, it’s not a problem to be taken lightly.

It’s also a matter of ideology. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are virtual, and though they require a country like Malta to act as a responsible legislator to grow, their virtuality is the core of their operating parameters. The idea behind the tech is to be borderless and without physical limits.


Start-ups – Local Skills and Relocations

There has been a lot of discussions about casino operator hires over the last decade. Not having a big local talent pool to hire from, they have tended to hire international. And while the market has existed long enough for Maltese workers to get educated in the necessary skills, foreign hires are still at over seventy percent at some companies.

And now that Malta wants to become a more general technological incubator for start-ups, the need for tech talent is growing even larger. But where the large casino operators can afford to relocate hires, smaller tech companies have to struggle more to offer competing salaries.

A lot of the plans from Malta’s government that are brought up in the article are also meant to address this issue. Meanwhile, being a hub for more varied tech industries than online casinos only should at least make it more lucrative for those professionals who can afford to move on their own.


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